I tasted my first mojito in the mid- to late 90s in a bar called Absinthe in San Francisco. A co-worker named Mike Little insisted that I taste his, and one sip later I was hooked. Back at home, I searched for various recipes, did some testing, and at the next backyard BBQ with friends, I declared, “The Mojito! This is our new summer drink.” Another summer, quite a few years later, we instituted a Mojito Thursday at the office. Speaking in code, we’d let people know that there was a Mr. Mo J. Ito wanting to see them in the kitchen. Seriously, a call from Mr. Ito helped get more than one person out of a long meeting. Big thanks to Mike and Mo J! The Classic Mojito Ingredients and Utensils Rum Light or dark, depending on your preference. Club soda Sugar or Simple Syrup Limes They should be washed and cut in half (you use a whole half in each drink). Mint A generous handful of washed leaves per drink. Ice Lots of ice makes the drink wonderful. Shot glass Tall drinking glass Mojitos are best served in a tall glass. I’m not sure why this is true, but it is, trust me. Muddler A wooden spoon works well; we use a piece of driftwood we found a few years back.
- Put a handful of mint leaves (20 or so) into the bottom of your drinking glass. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar or an equivalent amount of simple syrup. Add a splash of club soda, and begin to mix this with your muddler. You want to really press down on the mint leaves, smoosh them against the sides of the glass, for a good 10-15 seconds, maybe longer, to release the aromatic oil from the leaves.
- Squeeze half a lime into the glass, dropping the whole rind into the glass as well. Add a shot of rum (or 2, depending on the size of the glass and your taste for rum) and mix well.
- Fill the glass with ice, and then add club soda to the top.
- Mix again, and then garnish with a sprig of mint, a long, thin piece of sugar cane, or both.
- Take your first sip, smack your lips, and say “Ahhhhh.” You’re done!